*ooof*: Armitage, Informal

Your wish  is always my command, ladies, and I am more than pleased to present you with an *ooof* that is up-to-the-minute. Ok, well, it’s up-to-the-weekend, because today’s *ooof* surfaced over the weekend. I didn’t catch it on tumblr myself but on Snickers’ Mom’s blog via me+richard. Blame Easter…

RobertAscroft-10

Bum-down but not a bum – Richard Armitage in another shot by Robert Ascroft.
Image via RAnet.com

Any picture that has RA in it is *ooof* by definition. Well, give and take a few *spooof*s, maybe, and even if I have to dampen the mood here by prefacing today’s instalment with saying that I am not as enamoured with this shot by Robert Ascroft as much as with the other ones from the same series, I still get a bit hot under my undies collar looking at it. Technically, this is as brilliant as all the other shots we have seen by Ascroft so far: Armitage is pictured sitting on the floor, relaxed and informal. He is lit from above front left. I think this has been quite cleverly lit in the sense that the light looks very much like natural light (which I doubt it is) – which always looks much better, subjectively, to the human eye, than any artificial light. I am pretty sure this is done with a flash light through a softbox – soft shadows indicate the use of the latter, while it is otherwise impossible to light up an indoors location with natural light streaming in from a window.

The use of the location is pretty interesting. Contrary to what someone wrote in the comments on Snicker’s Mom’s blog (haha, no naming and shaming here, you know who you are… just kidding), I do not think this is a shot “without any background” at all. I would consider a “background-less shot” what we saw in last week’s *ooof* – the blown-out white nothing-ness. This, on the contrary, is quite clearly a backdrop against a wall. And interestingly, we are getting to *really* see this background: It consists of a grey backdrop. I have scrutinized this but the resolution of the image is not quite high enough for me to determine with certainty what exactly it is. It is unusual, though: When you look at the bit visible on the left, it looks like several layers of paper, rolled or scrunched up slightly. However, it also shows signs of paint strokes on it, particularly if you look at the edge of it on the right. The backdrop is sort of mottled, rather than pristinely and consistently grey in all places. You can see lighter and darker patches behind Armitage, which leads me to think that this is actually roughly painted  or deliberately patchy.

In a lot of ways, a pristine grey backdrop would make much more sense. While backdrops come in all colours, the use of grey is actually very common from a photographer’s point of view. It kind of kills two birds with one stone: Not only does it provide a background colour, it also gives a neutral reference point: Before shooting, those of us who have *properly* learned our craft actually take a test shot with a “grey card” in place. The grey card is literally a grey cardboard card. The colour consists of 18 percent grey. This is particularly important when shooting on film: By taking a light reading of the grey card, photographers can make sure that anything in the frame is exposed evenly. And exposure is something that cannot be corrected easily in post-processing when shooting film – hence it has to be right before the film is actually exposed. Digital photographers also place grey cards in a test shot in order to get a suitably neutral colour pictured within the shot which they can later place their calibrations on when doing white balance (White balance refers to the adjusting of the various colour intensities in the picture, and is done in Photoshop).

This, however, is not a consistently 18 percent grey backdrop. It is mottled and patchy. And this is where I come back to my opening statement that the image is not background-less. Apart from the fact that we can see the edge where the backdrop meets the floor, we can also make out the patches on the background. This is actually a good idea in a shot that must have been taken with a reasonably small aperture. The depth of field is rather large – that means that not only the subject is in focus, but also other parts of the image that are in front of or behind the sitter. It is most likely that Ascroft deliberately decided to shoot with a small aperture because he had placed his sitter at an angle. While the photographer would’ve focussed on the sitter’s eyes, shooting with a large aperture would’ve rendered anything unsharp that was *not* on the same physical plane of the eyes. With the subject sitting an angle, we have his left foot jutting out furthest to the front and his right elbow furthest to the back. Taken at say f2.8, these parts of the image would’ve appeared fuzzy and out of focus. Ergo Ascroft uses a smaller aperture of something like f9 or f11 and gets all of his subject in focus.  – That, of course, also brings the other parts of the image into focus. The background is not quite sharp, but still defined enough. And the patchiness and unevenness of it thus adds a bit of texture.

Personally I find the background quite fitting: Armitage is dressed informally. He is wearing jeans and boots. While the shirt is formal, he wears no tie and the sleeves of the black shirt are rolled up, exposing his yummy, manly, muscular, altogether delicious… Guylty, staaaawp… hairy underarms, giving him a casual look that also befits his casual stance. He is sitting on the floor with his left underarm resting on his left knee. This is a man at leisure – not a business man about to make a speech. Hence he fits into a setting that is informal – the floor is scratched and battered and marked, and the background is irregularly painted and patchy. In interior design terms it could be called “shabby chic”. And in that sense it all fits together very well (even though Armitage can only be considered “chic” but certainly not shabby!!!). The grey background complements the black shirt and the dark blue jeans in terms of colour while not distracting from the subject. The whole set-up has a slightly edgy feel with the scratched concrete floor and the dirty background. There is an industrial feel to this – the location could be a studio in a converted warehouse, or it could be a chic loft.

And that is actually something we have seen before! I am thinking of the magnificent photoshoot of RA at the time of Spooks by Joe McGorty . Those images have long been among my favourites. (So much so, that I actually sneaked them into part of my degree thesis… I wonder what my lecturers thought of me… ) And what I wrote then so much applies to the Ascroft image with its industrial setting that I copy it here verbatim: Industrial sites are not conventionally known as scenic or beautiful environments that would merit a photograph or would be worth-while locations for photo-shoots. By placing the sitter in this environment, the photographer communicates a number of subtle messages. This man, the image tells us, is not a romantic hero but he is a hard worker. He is not afraid to roll up his sleeve and get his fingers dirty. He is a “worker”, not a luxury creature.

In recent years, there has been a fashion of converting industrial buildings into dwellings – the “loft”. These are usually seen as rather “cool” places to live in. With that in mind, the image communicates to us that the sitter is a fashionable, young(ish) person with enough money to dwell in a sought-after location/dwelling. Lofts have also an association with art in the sense that they were often used by artists as their studios. Again, this association rubs off onto the sitter and could possibly give him the air of an avantgarde artist. The denotative meaning of the location as a possibly stylish, fashionable, artistic loft brings with it the connotative meanings. Lofts are seen as slightly quirky, unusual dwellings, often used by creative people such as artists for combined work and living spaces. Therefore they are connected to progressive thinking and avantgarde art. At the same time they also suggest pared-down, minimal living and a lifestyle that is focussing on essentials rather than ostentatious and opulent displays of wealth (such as a mansion or a country house or indeed a palace).

Is the sitter an artist? A fashionable person? In any case, he must have a sense of art and creativity if he is placing himself in this kind of environment. And thus we are given an interpretation of the sitter without necessarily knowing who he is and why he is in this environment. That is how sneaky modern portraiture works… Before you know it you have been sold your worst enemy as your saviour. Maid Marian and Sir Guy anyone???

Alright, I may be pushing it a bit by claiming this is a loft setting. Nonetheless – nothing is ever unintentional in a photo, and you can be sure that there is something that Ascroft wants to communicate by placing Armitage bum-down on a dirty floor in front of a shabby chic wall. Is this another incident of trying to make Armitage look edgy and cool, rather than “old-fashioned action man”? It almost looks as if Ascroft had been given the brief to interpret Armitage in a few different ways, casually and slightly more formally, as a distinguished middle-aged man (cf. the LF shot) and an ageless more artistic or “cool” guy. It would be interesting to know who the client for this shoot was. Was it Armitage’s agents, or a particular magazine/photo agency or was the shoot organised by Ascroft alone? Was there art direction on the shoot? If so, what was their intention and which purposes to these shots have? Which audience have they been designed for? For casting directors looking at Armitage’s actor’s portfolio? For female readers of up-market fashion magazines? For the readers of men’s magazines? For TV guide readers? All the answers would help us determine what the connotations of the image are.

Or we can just simply close our minds to all the connotations and denotations and simply enjoy the sight of an informal Armitage, lounging about on the floor. Let’s just admire the exposed underarms and marvel at the nicely defined thighs in those tight jeans. It is simply nice to imagine Mr Armitage relaxed and carefree – is this how he would spend a Saturday afternoon in his own home, sitting on the floor in front of his stereo, playing his favourite CDs or sorting through a stack of DVDs before settling back to watch The Fellowship of the Ring with a good bottle of red? I am intrigued.

All text © Guylty at me + richard armitage, 2013. Please credit when using excerpts and links. Images and video copyrights accrue to their owners.

~ by Guylty on April 2, 2013.

101 Responses to “*ooof*: Armitage, Informal”

  1. Well I have done what you suggested and admired the informal Mr. Armitge, the arms, the defined thighs, and now will imagine him sitting on the floor in front of MY stereo playing CD’s or DVD’s with a very good bottle of red and some time to spare… 😉

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  2. Hmm. I mostly agree with your analysis. Ascroft has used textured backgrounds in other photographs of Richard, like the one for Accion Cine, a Spanish movie magazine. I wonder if this was part of the same shoot. Ordinarily, though, we don’t sit on a hard floor in a grungy space for very long, not out of choice anyway. I see this as possibly taking a break from a remodeling project, sitting down briefly to survey the progress. Yet the collared shirt adds polish; would you choose this as a work shirt? Perhaps he is backstage, during a rehearsal for a stage play, just pausing while the director blocks the previous scene. The contrast between formal and informal, the quiet intensity, the sense of calm before the storm — all suggest the latter. And yeah, *ooof*. What that man does to me ought to be illegal.

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    • Touché, Leigh – I don’t really like artificial poses, either, that’s why I try to imagine a scenario in which it makes sense that Armitage is sitting on his bum on the floor. The fact that he’s looking at the camera of course destroys my little “home story” – why would he be looking like that if he was at home, alone? – The shirt is a tricky one – formal but informally worn, I suppose. As I said – the whole shot did not get me quite as excited as the other ones by Ascroft. But that was the challenge, I guess 😉

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  3. I really enjoy your analysis of the photographer’s art. You point out so many details that I don’t notice right away, because I’m focused on RA as the subject of the photo, and it is a pleasure to learn more about why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling about the photo. So, thanks!

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    • Thank you, Saralee :-). I always sneak my technical stuff in – geek – but I love disecting the set-up for the subtle messages. Mind you, I love being manipulated by RA…

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  4. Thanks for another masterful description! Messages everywhere – good thing the agent of the manipulation in this case has our tacit permission right? I hope he’s not looking quite so bothered when he’s at home – is it just me, or is that just short a scowl? Smolder gone too far? There’s something about the left foot…maybe the top of the boot..that lends a sort of unnatural angle at that point – is he pointing his toe down? (very scientific, I know!)

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    • oops…didn’t log in correctly on this particular PC (I’m a rolling stone 🙂 ) when I commented above…

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    • I really couldn’t quite make out his facial expression myself. He looks as if he is “scrutinizing” the camera. He’s staring at us and he’s not entirely happy *ahem*. He looks a little bit too dark for my taste, too serious. I like smoulders, but this isn’t really one, either… Not quite sure about it.
      As for the left foot – ouch, the shin looks as if it has a massive dent. Nah, must be the top of the boot.

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      • It does look kind of off putting – RA’S “What the *cough* do you want?” look.

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        • LOL – yeah, kind of annoyed. The lips are slightly too tightly pressed together.

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          • Don’t get me wrong…I don’t mind a little grouchy RA now and then…as with all things to do with this man, now I’m constructing a surly RA scenario 🙂 (much more fun than grading exams!)

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            • I see what you are trying to get at, Obscura *wiggles her finger* 😉 Does it involve make-up sex :-D???

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              • *bats eyes innocently* Maybeee…. 🙂 Been doing a little outside reading have you?

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                • *coughs* Guy is never far from my mind. Most of the time.

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                  • *smirks as he tosses a couple of green M&Ms into his shapely mouth and then chews, an amused look in those kohl-rimmed azure eyes.Swallowing, the Adam’s apple bobs in a most appealing manner* “REALLY, Lady GuyIty? Interesting . . . did you know what they say about green M&Ms, by the way, my lady?”

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                    • *gasps* S…s…sir Guy! I didn’t expect… I mean… I… You’ve… Caught me out, I guess. *Guylty gathers her wits* Pray tell me, dear Sir, what do they say? Are they even more delicious than your tight black leather pants? … Ooops, did I say that out loud?

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                    • “Well, my lady, green M&Ms are said to be aphrodisiacs. Put you in the mood, so to speak.” *flashes a predatory grin* “Interested in learning more?” *positively purring at this point*

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                    • How could I withstand your seductive… Eh… Persuasive powers, Sir Guy. With pleasure! *flutters her eyelashes* I am always interested in learning about new delights, culinary and otherwise!

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                    • “Why indeed, my lady? Resistance is futile . . .” *predatory grin returns* “Although, I have to say a bit of resistance can be most–stimulating.”

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                    • You are most amusing, Sir Guy. You like the hunt, it seems. I have just heard about a charming turkey-hunt that is being put on not far from your abode… Nothing to work up a good appetite than a little hunting!

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                    • The thrill of the chase. *tilts head, eyes narrowing in thought* Hmmm, I could break out the old bow and arrow skills again. There are a number of archers who live in the area. *a moue of distaste* Thankfully NOT Forest Boy. Who is not So Not Dead. *smirks* Just—dead.

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                    • Forest boy? Who is HE again? Ah, l’insignifiant belette. Not worth your breath – nor your arrow.

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                    • *glances down, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. Where a crumb from a brownie can also be spied. The man has a sweet tooth the size of Prince John’s ego, I vow* I do like the way you think, my dearest Lady GuyIty.

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                  • See, I was going in a wholly different chaRActer direction there 🙂 *may* have written something along this line in my Porter fic…

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                    • Porter fic? Did I read Porter fic??? What, where? Link, Obscura – I have an insatiable appetite for RAfic… (currently reading a GoG fic).

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                    • It’s on DF in Other Fics at the moment…can I link there since it’s member only?

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                    • Hm, probably not? And I must admit that I don’t even know what DF stands for. But I am very tempted to sign up for it, whatever it may be, if it gets me a look at a certain steamy sergeant…

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                    • It’s Dreamer Fiction…you just need to be referred by a member…it’s a no flame zone for baby authors like me 🙂

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                    • Clarifying…not only newbies….dozens of great authors, some who don’t post anywhere else. 🙂

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                    • Ah yes, I have heard of that. A place for writers only, is it? If anybody wants to invite me… *hints/coughs* unless it is writers only… Or I’ll wait patiently until it moves on to FFnet 😉

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                    • I was an avid reader long before I wrote anything. I’ll check when I get home how referral works 🙂

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                    • pretty please 🙂

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                    • Guylty and mujertropical, I have received the recommendations for your memberships and I’ll get them processed tonight. You’ll receive confirming e-mails.

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                    • Thank you, Leigh. Please remember to use the other username! 😉

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                    • I sent her email reminder about that. She’s out running errands 2day.

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                    • Yes, she already said she would take care of it.

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                    • Actually, I missed the train and now I have to wait to do errands, so I’m here until noon…

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                    • You’re welcome, and yes, I’ll use the username Fedoralady sent me.

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                    • Oh, brilliant, Leigh 🙂 – hehe, this is how I find out all the criss-crossing connections in Armitageworld. Looking forward to DF now…

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                    • What username do you want at DF, GuyIty?

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                    • Guylty is fine 🙂

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                    • Thanks, just wanted to make sure. 😉

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                    • I need a link to that story STAT, please! Thank you.

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                    • This is what DF says: Due to the quantity of spam I’ve turned off registration for my sanity. If you wish to register please email us at admin (at) dreamerfiction.com with your chosen user name and if possible some way of either proving your over 18 or recommendation from an existing member. We’ll then mail you back your registration and password.

                      If you could recommend me under the username ‘chattypatra’, I will be most grateful. You could refer them to my Tumblr blog so they can see I’m not underage! Thank you!!!

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                    • Ladies, as my dear friend Leigh (Lady Anne) is co-admin at Dreamer Fiction, I would be more than happy to recommend both of you to her if you will allow me to send her your emails and also tell me which usernames you’d like to use at the site. I am a long-time member there and author (fedoralady) altho I admit it’s been a while since I posted. There is quite a variety of RA-related fiction there by a number of talented authors, and because quite a bit of it is of an adult nature, that’s why it’s kept closed/by membership only.

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                    • Thanks Angie,

                      I wasn’t sure what the procedure was, or if I’ve been a member long enough to refer others…there you go being awesome again! 🙂

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                    • Oh, you can refer people, too, darlin’, I just thought I’d kick start things for you. Leigh and I are always rattling back and forth at each other, and since she’s now second in command there 😉 I thought I could streamline process maybe?

                      See, for a “dangerous stalker,’ I really AM a very nice person. 😀

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                    • Oho, the network is becoming ever tighter 😀 You are great, Angie, and yes please – not sure if you have already found my e.mail via the About section, if not, it is guylty (at) photographer (dot) net Thank you ❤

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            • OK, I think he’s tired from this DIY project Leigh mentioned, he’s had a shower (singing “Love in an Elevator”),changed clothes (the dress shirt was the only clean thing he had on hand) and he’s plonked down on the floor because there was a delay in having his couch delivered.

              And he really wasn’t expecting this effing photog to show up when he just wants to unwind and get slightly wasted with some good wine and good music. And, perhaps, a good woman? Has the bed been delivered yet, I wonder . . . a hardwood floor can be hard on middle-aged bones engaged in certain activities. 😉

              As always, GuyIty, a pleasure! Thanks.

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              • LOL…even worse, I think that floor is concrete!

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              • Oh LOL, Angie! Trust the writer to come up with a stringently cool story. That is just it. I love it. Wish I was Ascroft…

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                • More fun than coming up with a scenario for a car commercial with a tie in to turkey season. That was my recent assignment re my thinking cap. 😉 (Hubby is both business manager and commercial auteur for the local Chevy dealership.)

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                  • Oh Cod yes. I know where you are coming from. Much more fun than writing about marketing for small businesses on Twitter (today’s assignment for me). RA is far more enticing, concrete floor or no.

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                  • Turkey season as in shooting wild birds, or turkey season as in Thanksgiving? I can see the SUV transporting the whole family to grandma’s house, delivering many turkeys to a homeless shelter, and then taking the family home through the snow — “When you must be there for TG…”

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                    • As in shooting birds, alas. Here’s what Benny came up with:

                      Fletcher (in camo) by old raggedy vehicle: “Is your car a turkey? Get it fixed with factory trained technicians at ******* Motor Company.”

                      Hope (pops up in camo): “***** Motor Company, where you come in a customer and leave as a friend.”

                      Could do sales same way “Are you driving a turkey? Trade it in for a new or used vehicle at ******** Motor Company.”

                      I suggested they add in a little “gobble, gobble” sound effect. Turkey hunting HUGE thing in these parts. I confess I always root for the turkeys. 😉 I’m terrible.

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                    • Haha, I didn’t know that what we call ‘bangers’ are ‘turkeys’ with you! Could you get RA to do the voice-over *hehe* He’d sell me anything…

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                    • Yeah, “turkey” is kind of all-purpose word here for anything that’s less than good. For example, you might say a particular film was a real turkey. Re an RA voice-over—oh my gosh, the women at least would be beating down the doors of the dealership!

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                    • I feel the unquenchable need to listen to that beer ad RIGHT NOW…

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                    • Oh, dear. You’re not terrible at all. Those birds don’t taste all that good. Then, if they’re hit with a shotgun, there’s birdshot in the meat. Ugh. Why not pose Fletcher with a .22 and a hunting dog, maybe a couple of name-brand game bags, frowning as the beater dies in the mud? “Was your last car the wrong kind of turkey? Bag your birds in style with guaranteed service and the best vehicle for your money…” [cue dog howl] Show happy Fletcher in driver’s seat of better vehicle with dog beside him.

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                    • I just forwarded your ideas to him.

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                  • Ah, the elusive wild turkey – that always cracks me up – hunters in stealth camo stalking these birds…I could hit 20 throwing a stone from my car on the way to work most days 🙂

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                    • LOL I have sat and waited for Mama Turkey and the Turkettes to cross the road before. We see plenty of them out this way, too. 😉

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          • To me, it speaks of focus and concentration, not a good time to interrupt his thought process.

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  5. Er, different perspective here. RA bears a superficial resemblance to my first husband (a Russian native). When were first married, I had become a first-time auntie. When I would babysit my niece, I would spread out a blanket on the floor and play with her on it. Sometimes I would ask him to join us. Russians think sitting on the floor is a health no-no, especially with an infant. RA’s expression mirrors the look on Dima’s face (in such nasty, floor-sitting circumstances) exactly. I called it his “надоела” (“I’m completely fracking fed up”) face. Curiously enough, all of the pictures of RA with stern, angry or absolutely cracking up with laughter faces remind me most of my first hubby. The pictures of Lucas North in Moscow freak me out. But I adore him (RA) anyway…

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    • Interesting story, chai! Well, you never know, maybe Richard was indeed thinking to himself that he didn’t want to pose sitting on the floor, felt it was too contrived or something! Thanks for your comment 🙂

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      • Thank YOU for your lovely photographic analyses… I have very dear memories of my Russian in nothing but a towel, flicking mosquitoes out of the air with a handtowel, shouting “Opa!” at each successful flick. Makes me want to be a fly on the wall with RA in Scotland in the summer. He has a much more photographic body than my Dima (rip).

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        • How nice to think that RA brings up pleasant momories of a beloved person for you :-).
          What’s the story with Scotland, though? Is RA filming up there this summer? I though he was going to be in New Zealand from June??

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  6. Had I known the comments I would find in this thread, I would have brought the popcorn! You all crack me up.

    I don’t like this picture (ducks to avoid tomatoes). Dark olive and I are not friends unless I am actually eating an olive, but that’s a different matter. The angle of that boot ruins the picture for me. It is not aesthetically pleasing, to say the least.

    The wallpaper has a very masculine texture and I do like the unpainted concrete floor even though it would have looked better painted. Yes, it is a very hard surface and – not only that – it is cold. His peaches would get bruised and that cannot happen. Honestly, I don’t know why it hasn’t occurred to him to insure them! *cough* I know…he’s too shy to do that.

    This is the closest I have ever seen Richard with a neutral expression on his face and I don’t like it. In fact, it’s off-putting to me and a little scary. I suspect he gets a blank look on his face when he is annoyed and/or displeased and is trying to control his temper and this might be it.

    I love your technical analysis, S, even though I don’t understand all of it but I just don’t get turned on by this picture. It leaves me cold. He is not welcoming anyone to look at him here. His face is saying ‘get it over with and go away’, ‘leave me alone’. There is nothing warm or sexy here! 😦

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    • No tomatoes from me, B, I am not *that* fond of it myself. I wouldn’t even call this facial expression neutral; rather I think it borders on the annoyed, possibly along the lines of “when the heck is this over???”.
      I could easily tolerate the angle of his boot, but now that you mention it I feel reminded of the image of him sitting in the window. We discussed the angle of his left foot in that one, too. Is there a pattern here? Has he possibly got a problem with his left ankle? An injury sustained while dancing?
      Your comment re “bruised peaches” had me LOL. No way would we allow that. On the other hand I quite like the opposite of soft peaches and concrete flooring. On *my* other hand, actually, if it comes to it *haha*
      The facial expression does not really elicit sexy feelings for me, either, but I must say I *do* find the shot sexy. It’s in the arrangement of his limbs, the open crotch *blushes profusely*, the exposed underarms, the open collar.

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      • Hahahaha! Have you seen the edit Sketchlavie made of a huge close up of him in his jeans? If not, go here:

        http://mujertropical.tumblr.com/post/46890556827#notes

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        • *bruhahaha* That was scary, B. I remember seeing that and thinking to myself “TMI, TMI”. Or is there *ever* “too much information” when it comes to RA????

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          • Did you read the comments? Someone noticed that the inside of his right leg was ripped. They said: ‘Does he have chub rub? He has a tear on his jeans!’ hahahaha
            Apparently his thighs are so muscular that they rub against each other when he walks. The things this Army notices never cease to amaze me! 😉

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            • At 400X, I saw the flat-felled seam edge (which you turn to the outside for comfort, less chafing) was frayed at his upper thigh, but not a rip. That’s pretty typical for men with lean, muscular thighs (e.g., dancers, cyclists, runners, gymnasts). The jeans he wore for Cbeebies, on the other hand, looked like they were going to give any second. You can (as a tailor or a designer) reinforce that area, but you can’t stop the outside seam edge from wearing.

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  7. You do not especially like this picture, Guylty?
    I must admit to my bias especially liking RA gruff or severe looking ;o) Those pictures of him bring me so fast back to work hard ;o) Motivation boosters 😉
    But this picture just is very special to me. Not only because he looks a bit angry, gruff, severe, annoyed for having to sit on the floor, but because the picture tells a story – many actually.
    The picture for me is not about what it actually shows, but what potential stories it conceals and embeds.
    What delicious stories it contains, about how best to bring RA into that position 😉
    As he sits so relaxed and not especially positioned or seemingly posing, those stories all work. He seems to be caught right in the middle of a movement, of getting up, of sitting up from something – won’t go into any more detail here ;o) – having just landed in that position, …
    That is just absolutely devastating for my composed state of mind and I just can’t get enough of especially this one picture or the stories it tells…

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    • I am biased about this picture, too, C, in that I do not really like the facial expression so much, but I do love the stance, the look, the details of the body. What you say about the image “telling a story, many actually – what it shows and the potential stories it conceals and embeds” is possibly the greatest compliment you could pay a photographer. That is what *good* photography does. It doesn’t merely “document”. It goes beyond that in challenging your imagination and involving the sitter within or outside the pictured environment in another connected scenario. The pose here is, as you described it, not merely static. There is implied movement pre- and post-shot. Maybe that is also why I can “forgive” (or rather “forget”) the gruff expression and still take enjoyment from this image. In any case, still a great shot by Ascroft!

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    • He does that thing with his left leg / ankle / boot again here that I loved so much in the window photo.

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  8. Thanks again for an amazing analyze. I’m learning so mutch. This was really interesting. Specially al those things they want us to feel when we see a picture without thinking about it. This was a really interesting picture to analyse.
    I think I would have loved this picture little more if he hadn’t looked stright in to the camera. Then we could imagine him just happening to sit there. Now he is posing, still very lovely photo.

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    • Wonder if Ascroft has any picture of him sitting on the floor but not looking in to the camera, would have liked to see that one.

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      • I think you are right on both points, Thora – the image might have worked better if RA hadn’t been looking at the camera but off. In any case, a split second later and his facial expression would have changed, the angle of the head different, his mouth less tense,, a glint in his eyes, who knows. – I am positive that Ascroft will have plenty of other photos from this particular setting. It is unlikely that he only took one shot. He probably has 20 more, but for some reason this was the one that *he* thought was the best of the lot.
        Note to self: Must write at some point about the whole process of editing a shoot. Luckily we have a number of photoshoots with RA where you can make out a certain progression of editing. It is quite insightful, actually…

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  9. Guylty, I also like the Joe McGorty photo shoot also. They where my favorite batch of photos till these new ones came out. I really like, no love him in tight jeans, boots, (those boots) button down shirt with sleeves rolled up and chunky belt (also the white t-shirt too). Yes I do believe that I do spy the belt. It’s funny a split second can change the expression on a persons face and who knows what he was thinking at that split second in time. I would think he did have thoughts on sitting on a cold floor, oh brrr. All I keep thinking wow what a man! There is something sexy about this photo also. I think if we keep getting this unseen photos I am going to have heart failure soon.

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    • It’s all about his body in this picture, at least for me. The lean torso and the muscular arms… Oooooh, I am actually getting a it giddy inside, just thinking about it… Must be the lack of sleep, or else I am cracking up!

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      • I most likely have a lack of sleep thing going on. When I wrote that last night, I should have been in bed, but no I am Richarding and not sleeping. But no I still like what I see. It’s those muscular arms with the rolled up sleeves! Yes it is his body, it’s the way he is sitting, it show’s it out very nicely.

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  10. Thanks Guylty! So hoped you would pick this one for the next *ooof*! I love the way the shirt hugs his shoulders. Simply adore the bare forearms, although perhaps not quite as impressive as Thorin’s in the barrels scene, I have to say. Must have been all that sword-wielding in the dwarf bootcamp, sigh…Still, I love me a guy in a button-front shirt with sleeves rolled up, I just do. I did notice the way he is holding his left hand here, it reminded me of the recent iTunes interview and his “listening hands.” It adds to the intensity of his expression somehow, as though he is concentrating on something that is also making him impatient, hence the almost threatening look on his face. Which I cannot say I dont like )

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    • Hello DaisyGirl – glad you like the *ooof*, and that I haven’t destroyed your enjoyment of it. Yeah, the underarms are impressive. Re Thorin’s forearms: If I remember correctly, they are prosthetics, though. Richards hands and underarms were covered, so unfortunately Thorin’s impressive underarm muscles are not Richards 🙂 Doesn’t really matter, though – he’s still very masculine and nicely toned. Well done to Mr A for keeping his body in such good shape.

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      • Ha! and I bought into it! but you are right, of course. Never mind prosthetic Thorin, the real RA will do nicely for me )

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        • DaisyGirl, I also love the rolled up sleeve look, shows off those hairy arms just right. My husband has been doing that look for years and I always liked it on him.

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    • Welcome to the blog, DaisyGirl.

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  11. Thank you for another analisys, Guylty 🙂
    Just highlight the leeeegs, butt :)~ and arms…Mr.Ascroft knows his craft, though I don’t like the expression on model’s face.
    Ps: I was feeling really turkey 😉 lately..so thanks for the laugh RAgirls:*

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  12. Will you be my guest blogger forever? Fantastic. Again writing before I read all the comments:

    1) Grey card — fascinating!
    2) your discussion of the whole industrial thing focused a thought that had been nagging me. While i think the background tries to signal “loft,” I don’t think it’s successful in doing that on its own. I think we associate “loft” with it at least partially because we’ve seen all the other Ascroft shots. To some extent that makes this shot harder for me to like: namely, I liked t-shirted Armitage against the flaking pank, and all the Armitage against the window shots, but there’s something that bugs me about this one, and that’s that I feel like if this *is* a loft, Armitage is too “clean” for it. Loft floors are dirty. And Armitage doesn’t signal dirty or sweat in any way here. The closest he gets is the boots but they are polished to a high sheen. Someone at (R)Ailment said this looked like a graduation picture and I agreed without knowing exactly why, and I think it’s precisely because of that problem — the sitter sits, beautiful polished, against a background that’s supposed to signify something that it doesn’t succeed in signifying because it’s obviously constructed. I think we read ‘loft” into what’s being signaled here, and that makes it look all a bit artificial — but that we only read “loft” because we’ve seen the other pictures. In any case I’m not wedded to this reading, but I continue to feel like the sitter doesn’t “fit” against the background. To some extent this was also true in the other shot in this series against the same background, where Armitage is seated in a chair of a kind that doesn’t really belong in a loft. I think I would view this pix differently had I not seen the others.

    OK, going back to read the comments.

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    • Hey – forever is a big word 😀 – but as long as you will have me, it really pleases me to be guest-blogging here.
      As regards the whole loft issue – first of all bearing in mind that my whole argument and interpretation re. loft were slightly tenuous (after all they are only based on the evidence of the scraggy backdrop and the battered floor), the point you are making about the artificiality of it is very valid. This *is*, after all, only a photo shoot location. It could easily *be* a loft (photography studios fit quite nicely in such premises) – and the fact that the sitter is too polished to be in a loft setting, would not really disturb me too much from the loft theory. They can look quite fancy. But the point is probably that we *know* that this is nothing but a location, not a *real* dwelling, and that probably distracts from the message that is intended. For me it is all too clear that the sitter has been *told* to sit there. He otherwise has no reason to be there. It is all slightly contrived, and although technically flawless, the whole thing just doesn’t quite add up. But hey, win some, lose some.

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      • It’s true, and I’ve never wanted to get married 🙂

        In a way, there’s a purpose to graduation pictures, so yeah, it’s hard to bring up a lot of negative response to this (beyond, potentially, the “scowl”). He does have The Boots on, and my oh my.

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  13. […] a suited RA in front of a relatively neutral steel door for several shots, he had a less formal Armitage sit on the concrete floor and on a shabby chic armchair, he placed the casually dressed Armitage in front of a wall with […]

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  14. […] and attractiveness of his subjects. A photographer with a classic and classy approach. ooof ooof ooof ooof ooof ooof ooof ooof ooof ooof ooof […]

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